Reality Check: The Business and Art of Producing Reality TV  book cover
1st Edition

Reality Check: The Business and Art of Producing Reality TV

ISBN 9780240810300
Published August 18, 2008 by Routledge
284 Pages

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Book Description

Do you have a concept for a reality TV show, but aren't sure about the next steps? Loaded with practical, step-by-step advice on the art and business of reality TV producing, and featuring insights from Mark Burnett, Dick Clark, and other top producers, Reality Check takes you from idea to...reality! At age 13, Michael Essany launched a lowly cable access TV talk show from his parents' basement in Valparaiso, Indiana. Fast forward to 2001, and Michael had turned his little talk show, The Michael Essany Show, into a multimillion-dollar project that quickly became one of the most talked about reality television shows. If Michael can do it, so can you. But be prepared for a lot of hard work and a few reality checks. This book includes compelling advice on how to:

* Better understand the nature, complexities, and potential of the reality genre
* Physically produce original reality programming
* Get past the gatekeepers and deliver quality pitches to major networks and production companies
* Legally protect yourself, your work, and your intellectual property
* Learn from glories and the gaffes of those who toiled before you
* Utilize the internet and other multimedia outlets to create and generate revenue from reality programming
* Avoid the professional pitfalls of the reality TV industry
* Parlay reality television projects into a successful and enduring career

Table of Contents

Welcome to Reality; Reality's Long Reel; From Fantasy to Reality; Facing Reality; The Show & Tell of Reality TV; Producing Reality; Where Ethics and Reality Collide; The Ugly Reality; Fit for Reality; Living Reality; Reality Baggage; Random Secrets of the Reality Trade; Avoiding the Reality Drive Through; Making Sense of Reality

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At age 13, Michael Essany ventured into the lowly world of local cable television by hosting a show from his parents' basement in Valparaiso, Indiana. With a keen sense of humor and a fundamental grasp of the TV industry, Essany turned his little talk show, The Michael Essany Show, into a multimillion dollar project that quckly became one of the most talked-about reality television shows in America. By the time he was 21, he had appeared on the The Tonight Show, Oprah, CNN, Inside Edition, CBS news, ET, and Access Hollywood, to name a few. In the spring of 2003, E! Entertainment Television launched The Michael Essany Show to one of the highest rated debuts of any new E! reality series. In 2004, the show was sold to the BBC in Great Britain, where it became a success. In 2005, the show debuted on Australia's Comedy Channel. Having created an inspirational brand that reached three continents by the time he was 23, Essany has secured a place in American pop culture as one of the most inspiring young entrepreneurs and television personalities in America today.


"If there is a sage at the top of the reality show mountain, it's got to be Michael Essany. In Reality Check, he shows his real love for the business with his shrewd insight and savvy. A must read for anyone trying to get real in the unreal world of reality tv."-Leeza Gibbons, TV personality & producer